Whippets are incredible dogs that some say are tough to train because of their hunting instinct.
That being said, I have trained many whippets over the years and have a few tips or tricks that may help you to train your whippet.
Whippets were bred to hunt here in England, and it’s true that they do have a very strong instinct that can make it difficult to train sometimes.
However, understanding when is the right time to train your whippet is important, as you’ll want to train him when he is young enough to carry it forward but old enough that he is mature and can absorb the training.
In this post we are going to answer, is a whippet easy to train?
Helping you understand how to train a whippet without him quitting on you, and giving you some advice on how I trained my whippet.
So is a whippet easy to train?
Let’s find out…
Identify Why You Want To Train Your Whippet
The first thing you’ll want to do when trying to find out is a whippet easy to train is to identify why you want to train your whippet.
Do you want him to obey basic commands?
Or do you want your whippet to be an elite guard dog?
As one is a lot easier than the other, and one simply won’t happen.
Here are some of the most common reasons why people want to train their whippet;
Many people own whippets and intend to use them as working dogs, this means using your whippet to hunt small game such as rabbits or rats.
If this is you, then you’ll want to ensure your whippet is highly trained, as you’ll need to be able to override his instinct, as well as train him to the highest standard for recall.
You may also need your whippet to be able to jump small fences, believe it or not, but my whippet cross greyhound can jump a six-foot fence without hesitation.
But this didn’t come overnight and took some real training before she had the confidence to jump.
If you’re wanting to train your whippet to be a racing dog, then you’ll need to focus on your dog’s diet and exercise program.
This is because racing dogs need to be in peak physical fitness to compete, which means regular exercise and a diet that is nutritional and high in protein to help his muscles recover and grow.
Maybe you just want your whippet to have a certain level of basic training.
This includes recall training, which is training your whippet to come back to you when called but can also include more basic commands such as sit, stay and down.
I believe every dog should have a level of basic training, as it helps you get to know your dog better and builds a mutual bond as well as a high level of trust between you and your dog.
If you want your dog to have an advanced level of training, this can be achieved too.
Advanced dog training is much more intense than basic training, it includes training the dog at a distance, meaning he will listen to your commands even if he’s not close to you.
Not only that, but it includes off-leash training, hand signal training and a high level of recall training.
This type of training isn’t for everyone, and only a small number of people take it upon themselves to train there dogs to this level, which is a shame really as it can bring out untapped potential in your dog.
Training A Whippet At The Right Time
Now that you have identified why you want to train your dog and which type of training you want to go through with your whippet, you should know when is the right time to train your whippet.
A puppy has a very short attention span, just like us humans do when we are young.
That being said you can expect your whippet to start to learn simple obedience commands such as sit, stay and down from as young as seven to eight weeks of age.
This means you can get to work right away with simple commands, but you should go easy, as they are still very young and would much prefer to play than to learn commands.
Formal dog training has traditionally been delayed until six months of age, as up until this point your dog is still very juvenile and won’t take much notice of certain training techniques.
After your whippet is over the age of six months is when you can start basic training, which is prominently recall training exercises.
You should focus on basic training until your dog starts to calm down and mature, which is usually between the ages of two and three.
Once your dog is at this age, you can start more intense training, such as advanced training techniques as well as training him for racing or working.
Your dog will almost be fully developed by this point, meaning he will be more suitable for a lot of physical exercise needed for racing, and he’ll also have the legs needed to jump if you’re going to be using him as a working dog.
Training a whippet takes time, it’s all about timing, as trying to train a dog too soon can build up resistance and stop the dog from wanting to learn.
Tips For Training A Whippet
There are plenty of things you can do to prepare yourself and your dog for training; here are some of my top tips for training a whippet:
Reward good behavior
The first tip for training your whippet is to ensure that you reward his good behaviour.
This can be done in the form of a dog treat, or a good stroke when he has done what you asked for.
Aim to give the commands, and then give him a reward immediately once the action has been carried out.
This will strengthen the bond between the action and the reward, meaning he will understand that if he does the required action, he will get a reward.
You should start this in basic training, whilst your whippet learns commands such as “sit”, “down” and “stay”.
Never beat your whippet
One of the worst things you can do with your whippet is beat him if he isn’t doing what you require.
Whippets are incredibly sensitive dogs; they feel your emotion and when you’re upset with them.
Instead of learning that he has done wrong, he will become fearful of you which will mean he lacks trust and it ultimately makes the whole training process harder.
Never, ever beat a whippet, it’s not constructive and can ruin your dog’s confidence.
Try whistle training
One trick I found useful when training my whippet is using whistle training.
I whistle a certain way so that she has now gotten used to and knows this means for her to come back to me.
It is also a good tool in case we lose each other when we are on a walk, as when I do this whistle she can follow the sound and find her way back to me.
Whistle training is a great technique to build a connection with your whippet, as he will know that this is your sound and be able to find you should he get lost.
Make it fun
The key to training your dog effectively is to keep it fun and entertaining for your whippet.
You shouldn’t do it for long periods over and over again, keep it fresh, and train your dog for short burst throughout the day so he doesn’t get bored.
I recommend training 10 – 15 minutes, 2 or 3 times per day.
Try to use different locations too, maybe a park one day and a local field the next, mix it up so your whippet doesn’t know what’s coming, this will keep him interested and eager to learn.
Training your whippet can be a long process, especially if you’re training him to a high level for working or racing.
You need to understand that this is going to take time, as well as consistency.
You don’t want to start training your whippet and then suddenly give up and stop, as you’ll lose momentum and this will only leave your whippet confused, which could also mean you lose your progress.
Understanding that it’s going to take months, if not years of training to get your whippet to where he needs to be, but every day is progress and never lose sight of the goal.
So is a whippet easy to train?
That depends, if you know what you’re getting yourself in for and are prepared then it can be.
Identifying why you want to train your whippet and to what level you want him to be trained at is important.
As well as choosing the right time to train your whippet, as you’ll want to wait until he is at least six months old before you start any extensive training with him.
Training your whippet should be fun for you and him, so mix it up by using different locations regularly.
There are a lot of tips and tricks out there for training your whippet, but the main one I can give you is for you to understand that it’s going to take time and patience.
Hopefully, you now understand how to train a whippet and what to expect when doing so, give him time and you’ll have a loyal, trained whippet for years to come.
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Hello. I’m Luke- the founder of WhippetCentral. I’m somewhat of a whippet nut and have been for most of my life. In that time, I’ve owned and raised numerous whippets. Bonnie is my latest girl; she is currently eight years old and keeps me very busy! Understanding the need for whippet-specific content, I decided to create this blog to share what I have learned and to share my expertise regarding owning and raising whippets – the right way!